Aquatic turtles can develop fungus if they are kept in a poorly maintained aquarium environment. A fungal infection is characterized by gray or white fuzzy patches on a turtle’s shell. When caught early, fungus can be treated and future outbreaks prevented. Consult your vet before using any home remedies.
Verify that what you are seeing is truly fungus and not the result of a natural molting or shedding of the shell. Aquatic turtles grow by sloughing off the outer layer of their shells. Shedding does not need to be treated or addressed in any way, as this is a natural function of aquatic turtle growth.
Wipe a thin layer of Betadine on the shell with a cotton cloth twice a day for two weeks, concentrating on the fungus-covered areas. Allow the medication to stay on the shell for 20 minutes before rinsing with clean, cool water.
Soak your turtle in a room-temperature salt bath made up of 2 tablespoons of aquarium salt to 1 gallon of water. “Bathe” your turtle in the salt bath once or twice a day for four to five days, depending on the severity of the problem. Move a soft toothbrush in a circular motion over your turtle’s shell to help remove the fungus.
Apply an aquatic turtle topical antifungal cream to the turtle’s shell, following the medication’s instructions. Creams are available at many pet supply stores.
Provide adequate basking areas for your turtles in which they can completely remove themselves from the water, dry out and warm their shells. Use a full-spectrum UV heating lamp to create the most appropriate temperature for your particular breed of turtle.
Clean your tank by changing one-third to one-half of the water every few weeks. Clean your filters with cool water to ensure healthy bacteria remains in the system to help prevent future fungus growth.
Monitor your turtle tank for fungus problems to prevent recurrence. If your tank walls or substrate is showing signs of green slime, it’s a good indication your turtles are at risk of a fungal problem.
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Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.